Saturday, December 30, 2006

Why Not Nukes?

A few fellow bloggers have asked me in the past what my thoughts were on nuclear energy. In a nutshell, I am just not comfortable with it.

The latest edition of Sierra has a great take on it. The article is by Paul Rauber

To affect global warming, says an influential study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, at least 1,000 new reactors would have to be constructed worldwide. Building those reactors would require a stupendous amount of money. Since capital is a limited resource, there would be less to spend on the many far-cheaper ways to cut down on carbon dioxide emissions: conservation, cogeneration (utilizing the heat produced by industrial processes to make electricity), and wind, to name a few. A dollar spent on energy efficiency would save seven times more carbon dioxide than a dollar spent on nuclear power.

In the end, it's not environmentalists wearing "No Nukes" buttons who have prevented any new reactor from being ordered in this country since 1978; it's Wall Street. Even with enormous subsidies from the Department of Energy and a taxpayer-funded shield from liability for major accidents through the Price-Anderson Act, no private utility has committed to building a new plant. Why? Because virtually every other form of power is cheaper and less risky. As Peter Bradford, a former member of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, told the New York Times: "The abiding lesson that Three Mile Island taught Wall Street was that a group of NRC-licensed reactor operators, as good as any others, could turn a $2 billion asset into a $1 billion cleanup job in about 90 minutes." So the government can continue to subsidize the industry, says Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute, but the effect "will be the same as defibrillating a corpse: It will jump, but it will not revive."


Makes me wonder...... Has India really done a thorough risk analysis with its ambitious civil nuclear program? A swarm of American companies are waiting to cash in on the deal. From technology transfer to Uranium mining. If I understand correctly, none of these companies have to worry about day to day nuclear plant operations. It indeed is a risk free way of making money. Will the fair weather crowd stick around if something horrible (God forbid) were to happen?

2 comments:

chipmunk said...

Whoa! What happened? :D

New year, new Riot! :) Wish you a very happy new year, Riot!

One More Reason said...

Thanks :) Wish you a very very happy new year